If you don't keep up, you can't operate

stay-up-to-dateIf you don’t keep up, you can’t operate. So I get a notice from Skype when I tried to log in this morning, in order to wish my mother a happy birthday, and the service wouldn’t let me connect. It told me to go get the latest OS X (Mac operating system) and update my Skype software. New hardware, new software, you have to stay up to date, or lose out.

A few days ago, I clicked to open what was supposedly a super-spiffy Bible site. It told me to go update my system and then come back. Well! Imagine that! In order to read their material (the Bible, yet), I had to have up-to-the-minute software.

Fortunately, you can still read the 1611 King James Version of the Bible and be saved. Although you’re going to miss some important items. “Conversation” then wasn’t was it is today, for one. And “concupiscence” isn’t a word we use every day. Both on the side of the English language, as well as the Greek and Hebrew, there is some keeping up to do. (See Stephen Lord’s post about the latter.)

Nobody will probably say that your soul depends on it. (Some folk say, however, that your soul’s salvation does depend on using the KJV and condemning modern versions. But that’s another story.) But keeping up with the advances in biblical studies brings many an advantage to study and teaching. Otherwise, if we aren’t careful, we may actually affirm something that isn’t true and that’s capable of being proved wrong by the historical or archeological evidence. And who wants to bring embarrassment to the cause of Christ?

¶ Have you ever had a bad day in the Lord’s service? All of us, I suspect. Even the ancients experienced hard times. Jeremiah, Elijah, Peter, and Paul, to name a few. One brother shared a recent day when only five people were present on a Sunday, including himself, when the normal was 25-30 in attendance. But God turns things around. I appreciated his honesty in his story.

¶ I think I’ve sold more books in the last couple of weeks than in my whole lifetime. (I was never a door-to-door book salesman, by the way.) Over 1,000 copies of our Portuguese translation of Steve Williams’s book, What Is Christianity?, have been sold in a special pre-pub deal. It’s half the price of a bus fare. The special went so well, we’re offering another one today until the printer delivers us the book, somewhere around Aug. 15.

¶ Change can unnerve you. Even positive change. All three of our children, in just the last week, have shared some major decisions they’ve made — all good — in their lives. We’re glad to see them going forward. But it makes us pause to consider the impact of those decisions on all of us. We’ll share some of their future changes in a few days, after they’ve announced them to the world.

¶ As for The Missus and me, no changes that we know of. Another US trip is coming up, she this next week, I at month’s end, then we both return to Brazil together the end of Sept. Our regular travel, to report to congregations, see family members. It’s been a year since we’ve been away. For a while we were traveling, one or both of us, twice a year, what with grandbabies popping into the world, kids graduating from college and other family milestones to observe.

¶ The last time we went, we stayed six weeks. Never again, I said. One month, at most. Maybe I’m getting old, but it’s getting harder to be away from home. Think of how crotchety I’ll be at 80!

¶ Plus, we have the new work begun this past January, but already we have brothers willing to take the lead, and places to meet. Less worry.

¶ Finally, here’s a little item for you, from our 3×5 card study series on the “Greatest Subjects of the Bible.” (It’s hard to reduce the greatest subjects to such a small space.) Tonight’s study, no. 7, is the church.

  1. Christ established the church, Mt 16.18.
    1. “My church:” He’s the founder, the church belongs to him.
    2. We always ought to build on his name.
  2. Christ leads the church, Mt 23.8-12.
    1. His leadership unites us, 1Co 1.2, 10.
    2. We ought to obey him, 2Th 1.8.
  3. Christ bought the church, Ac 20.28.
    1. His sacrifice motivates our obedience.
    2. His sacrifice motivates us to take care with the teaching.
  4. Christ sent the church, Mt 28.18-20.
    1. “Therefore:” his order is based on his authority.
    2. His work is making disciples through teaching.

I pray somebody might be blessed by it.

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